States failing to comply with federal guidelines to report probable coronavirus cases

Nearly half of U.S. states are going against federal guidelines by not reporting probable coronavirus cases and deaths, which may result in undercounting cases and misconstruing the full scale of the virus' spread, experts say, according to The Washington Post.

The CDC and Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists work together to issue guidelines on tracking diseases in the U.S. In April, the organizations recommended states count probable cases and deaths related to the coronavirus along with laboratory-confirmed cases and deaths. Probable cases and deaths include instances where symptoms and exposure indicated coronavirus infection but was not confirmed by testing.

A review conducted by the Post found at least 24 states are not reporting probable coronavirus cases and deaths, including California, Florida and New York.

Some states say they are collecting the information but not reporting them publicly. New Jersey officials said the state is reporting probable coronavirus cases and deaths to the CDC but is not disclosing those numbers on its website.

Officials in Montana, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia said they haven't reported any probable cases or deaths because there have not been any, "citing low numbers or the wide availability of testing," the Post reports. South Dakota officials said the state reports probable deaths but not cases.

Other states are reporting probable cases, but they are not distinguishing between probably cases and confirmed ones.

Part of the problem is that the public is requesting daily updates on the situation from state agencies that are underfunded using systems that are outdated, the Post reports.

Read the Post's full investigation and findings here.

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